Press release | Ode from Eindhoven to Philips pioneer wins first STRP ACT

Ode from Eindhoven to Philips pioneer wins first STRP ACT

The What If Collective from Eindhoven has won the first big STRP ACT with MGNT. MGNT is a gigantic magnetic tape loop and honours electronics pioneer Dick Raaymakers. The STRP Award for Creative Technology ACT is a new European prize that encourages the merging of innovative powers. What If Collective can realise MGNT with the prize money of 30,000 euro. Other prize winners are the Amsterdam-based artist Leanne Wijnsma and the Austrian designer Bernard Lenger, who both won 15,000 euro. All works will premiere on March 24 during the STRP Biënnale 2017.

MGNT from the What If Collective is one big sensor. Using microphones and sensors the installation hears and sees the visitors and it reacts to their movements, sounds and behaviour. They experience the power of magnetism just as Dick Raaymakers must have felt it decades ago while producing compositions at the Philips laboratories. The visitors themselves are the magnets that create new sounds on the tape surrounding them. The sounds they make in the space are turned into patterns of  particles that light up and wash over the tape. As visitors come closer to the tape, they influence the graphic patterns, making the sound in the space change. The closer the tape, the bigger effect on the sound.

The What If Collective consists of architect Toon Rooijmans, industrial designer Rhys Duindam (both graduates of the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, working together as ‘De Jongens van de TU’), creative programmer Luuk Schippperhey (works for VPRO), and designers Lola Gielen (designer and graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven).

According to Toon Rooijmans: “Everything fell into place. Last year I first dreamt of building impressive installations. At a hackathon three other people joined. That’s where the idea of the installation started. Together we’ve advanced. Their role got even more prominent. The installation grew bigger then my dreams. It’s ours. Exactly one year later it’s a dream come true.”

The Collective had the idea for MGNT during a musical hackathon at VPRO Medialab. With this installation the What If Collective makes the link to the past and to Philips. Dick Raaijmakers’ trail-blazing experiments in electronic music, makes this type of music accessible to be experienced for a broad audience at Natlab.
According to the jury: “In its image, size and interactivity,  MGNT is a real ‘festival work’ that connects to the look and feel of STRP and absolutely comes into its own in the Klokgebouw at Strijp-S. It also goes well with the Senses and Sensors theme of STRP Biënnale.”
Winners of the other STRP ACT for recently graduated talents, are Leane Wijnsma and Bernard Lenger. Both receive 15,000 euro to make their proposals real.

Smelling data
The Amsterdam-based Leanne Wijnsma will use the money to finish her project Smell of Data, on which she has been working for a number of years. “A wonderfully layered and many-facetted project  that brings together the digital and the sensorial in a surprising and meaningful way,” says the jury. She wants to use the prize money to film the last scène of the documentary of the same name she is working on and to develop a new olfactory station.

In the documentary, which is premiering at STRP Biënnale, she shows us her search for a more instinctive internet. Smell guides us, because our noses used to be one of our best survival mechanisms in identifying danger. In the digital domain, this no longer works because data or malware does not spreads alarming smells. In her film Wijnsma especially talks to experts in the areas of data, smell and security. The installation and the new olfactory station make STRP Biënnale visitors conscious in a sensorial way of the data that they unconsciously leak and the dangers that this can entail.

Understanding fear
The Austrian designer Bernard Lenger, who graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven last year with his pioneering project Ecocide with which he also won the René Smeets Award, zooms in on fear. The jury sees his Culture of Fear as an ‘extremely urgent and strong concept, full of current affairs value and social impact’.  Lenger develops a sensor with which we can face our fears and learn to understand them.  According to Lenger, this can help us to make our fears a better understood and accepted part of life, making it possible for us to prevent this primary emotion being misused or manipulated.

Jury
The international jury who judged the 61 entries, consisted of Sabine Himmelsbach (director/curator Haus für Elektronische Künste, Basel), Gabrielle Jencks (director/curator Abandon Normal Devices festival, Manchester/Liverpool), Michel van Dartel (curator at among others V2, lecturer Avans) Angelique Spaninks (STRP) and Gieske Biernert (STRP). Although this was the first open call for a still unknown prize, the level and the diversity of proposals was surprisingly good.

STRP ACT Eindhoven and Noord-Brabant position Eindhoven as the region that makes the future accessible now. Project partners for this first edition of STRP ACT are Brabant C., Sint Trudo and Park Strijp Beheer.

Note for the editor, not for publication: for more information please contact Joost Heijthuijsen, STRP Marketing & Communicatie, by phone +31 (0)40-2367228 or mail: joost@strp.nl.

Winners ACT II 2017: MGMT – What If Collective